On Sunday evening, flames erupted from the waters of the Caspian Sea, about 80 km off the coast of the Azerbaijani capital Baku. Near the site is Omid, the country’s largest gas and oil field.
The cause of the eruption was initially unknown, but later the state oil company SOCAR announced that it might have been a mud volcano. No oil platform was damaged in the blast.
The Caspian Sea has a large number of mud volcanoes that spew mud and gas in the event of an eruption, volcanologist Mark Tingay tells Watchman. Outside of Azerbaijan, there are hundreds of mud volcanoes, about a quarter of which have had violent eruptions in the past.
Sunday blast site Corresponds to the coordinates of the Makarov Bank volcano, which caused the 1958 eruption of the volcano in flames that were up to 600 meters high and 150 meters wide.
Unlike regular volcanoes, mud volcanoes do not release lava, explains Björn Lund, senior lecturer in seismology at Uppsala University.
– Instead, it will be a kind of mud porridge that appears. It will be a mixture of water and soft matter.
– It has to do with the fact that mud volcanoes are colder than normal volcanoes. So it’s not hot enough to melt rocks into the lava, he says.
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